How good does an afternoon coffee feel on days when we’re tired?

Pretty amazing right?

It might be time to rethink this decision. The afternoon coffee may actually be making your Mental Health worse and less resilient to stress in sales.

Sleep Deprivation

When we are sleep deprived the emotional part of our brain (amygdala) that is responsible for strong emotions like anger, rage and fight or flight gets dialed way up.

In fact, studies show there is well over a 60% amplification in emotional reactivity in participants who are sleep deprived. When the amygdala is hyper active it becomes way easier for us to react irrationally. We become irritable get upset by small events that happen in our environment.

Not only are we hyper sensitive to events in our environment when we’re sleep deprived – we also have a tough time controlling our desires. We become more impulsive because dopamine floods another part of our brain called the striatum. This region of the brain is responsible for driving our bad habits, addiction and pleasure seeking activities like overeating.

To make matters worse – the prefrontal cortex – the logical part of our brain is tired.

In well rested individuals, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for controlling our emotions. After a few nights of bad sleep and our logical brain snoozing, our emotions and desires take over and the stage is set for a downward spiral to begin.

A recipe for disaster within sales.

The Afternoon Coffee is Causing Sleep Deprivation in Sales

When we’re sleep deprived we lose the shield logical thinking provides and we become exposed to the stressors we face in sales. The lost deals make us more fearful, the rejection makes us more upset and the buyers who are unresponsive become overwhelmingly frustrating.

One simple, easy way to help fend off sleep deprivation is to ditch the afternoon coffee. That pick me up almost all salespeople feel they need to keep hitting the phones during the afternoon.

Here is why.

Sleep Pressure & Caffeine

From the moment we wake up in the morning, a chemical in the brain called adenosine starts to build up and continues to do so throughout the day. The more adenosine – the more tired we feel.

This is called “sleep pressure” and with more sleep pressure (more adenosine) the desire to sleep increases.

The problem with the afternoon coffee is it is filled with caffeine.

Caffeine makes us feel awake because it latches on to the same receptors in the brain as adenosine. Like a landlord evicting a tenant – caffeine latches on to these receptor sites and throws adenosine onto the street.

As a result instead of feeling tired (sleep pressure) we feel awake.

But that adenosine doesn’t go anywhere. While caffeine is occupying its spot – adenosine continues to build up.

When your body is finally done processing and removing the caffeine from your body – adenosine comes flooding back into its home in these receptor sites.

This is what happens when we crash and why we feel so tired all of a sudden.

Removing Caffeine From The Body

We all enjoy a good hit of caffeine from time to time. The problem with caffeine in the afternoon is it takes a long time for your body to remove it from these receptor sites.

For example – if you have an afternoon coffee at 3 pm – the average person will still have roughly 50% of the caffeine in their system by 8-10 pm. The pressure you should feel to sleep will only be at 50% because half the adenosine will still be blocked.

As a result we feel less tired and stay up later than we should. Even if we make the smart decision to go to bed – we’ll have trouble getting deep restful sleep. The type of sleep we need to rest our logical brain and be able control our emotions the next day.

Try This Instead of An Afternoon Coffee

Today, rather than reaching for an afternoon coffee, try replacing it with a 15 minute meditation or 30 minute nap instead.

Though you won’t feel the immediate boost in wake-fullness a coffee will provide (caffeine is a very powerful drug), these activities should provide you with enough extra energy to push through the day and set you up for a better nights rest.

With a good recovery, you’ll be better prepared to crush your sales tasks the next day.

If you’re curious where I learned all of this – I’m reading an amazing book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Its one of the best books I’ve read this year and I highly recommend you pick it up.

Are you an afternoon coffee drinker? 

Would love to hear from you in the comments after you give it a try. If you enjoyed this post – consider joining the free newsletter below.

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About The Author

Jeff Riseley is currently the Founder of the Sales Health Alliance and Mental Health Advocate. With over a decade of sales experience – Jeff understands the importance of Mental Health in achieving peak sales performance.

Jeff combines his sales (Sales Knowledge Institute) and Mental Health expertise to improve sales performance through a mix of sales mentorship and mental health best practices. His strategies have helped sales teams improve their sales process, while helping them become more motivated, resilient and better equipped to tackle stressful events within sales.

He is currently delivering these strategies through on-site workshops, coaching and speaking engagements. To explore working with Jeff contact him at [email protected]


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